Spray skirts, why not safety off strap?

The safety off strap across the deck of a spray skirt seems like a good idea on a tight fitting neo skirt. Why don’t I see them on the Snapdragon Ocean Trek or River Trek? I only see them on the Glacier. Is there a down side to the safety off strap?

If I can’t buy a SD Trek with the safety off strap, does anyone have details on sewing one on? Type of strap and where to buy. Type of thread and exactly where to sew it to the deck.


Paul S.

(OT: Anyone want to trade your SD Ocean/River Trek XL-tunnel M-deck for my XXL-tunnel L-deck?)

IR skirts also have the safety strap.

IF I were going to attempt to add one on my own, I would do a continuous loop, all the around (top and bottom sides) of the skirt. This way any sewing would only need to keep the desired location of the strap, and not need to transmit the full pull force.

lots of people dont like having it there
due to a question of stuff catching/clean deck etc…

i have them on my skirts just so that if need be i can pop with my knee…just another backup safety…

you would not want to have the strap run UNDER the skirt-the skirt conforms to the cockpit coaming…if the strap was there it might compromise the seal that afforded by the rand (albeit rubber or bungeeeee)…it would also add a loose hanging strap across you legs in the cockpit-that would constitute something to get caught on as well…

love the knee strap…works great…IR makes them and that is enough for me (90% of my skirts)


call snapdragon and special order
they’ll sew anything on anything, or leave anything you want off off, and do it all so fast you’ll swear they must have a basement full of illegal immigrants

You have to go through an official
Snap Dragon dealer. Snap Dragon WILL NOT take your order directly. They will talk to you, but you will have to place your order through one of their retailers. I ordered a Snap Dragon Ocean Tour EXP Reinforced skirt with the “knee strap” from New England Small Craft several years ago without problems. However, for whatever reasons, I and several other paddlers have found SD to be non-responsive to recent information requests. Those making inquires to SD either received no reply or only partial, confusing answers to their questions about skirt customization. In my case I found it, so difficult to get straight information out of SD that I recently purchased a Seals spray deck (to my knowledge Seals does not do a knees strap).

Safe paddling,


Why depend on the strap?
Instead of depending on the strap for a “back up” means of exiting, why don’t you practice other means of releasing your skirt.

When in the boat, try leaning to one side and grabbing the skirt just in front of your hip on one side only. This will release the skirt from the coaming there and then all you need to do is follow on down and keep pulling it off.

Even if you have the extra strap, practice this method too.

Personally I wouldn’t add an extra strap myself. Unless you have a really heavy duty sewing machine, I don’t think that you could get it sewn on well enough.


Method to add strap
I haven’t done this myself, mostly because I am lazy and was able to get that strap on my WW skirt which is where I figure I’d be most challenged to find the loop. I had figured if I were to get around to it I would Aquaseal some additional neoprene reinforcement onto the skirt at the points that I’d have the strap sewn on, then take the thing to a shoe repair place to have the actual stitching done. Strap from any fabric/craft store. I agree that most home machines wouldn’t handle it, and dealing with that heavy a thread by hand would be tough unless you were pretty handy with a needle stitch.

I happen to agree that it is a great feature and wouldn’t mind it on all my skirts. If you combine really thick winter gloves, like the dry gloves from scuba shops, with small hands and cold water I can see some real issues doing that grab the side thing. Especially if the cockpit is quite small, like in my Explorer LV. I happen to know that I can push that one off in a pinch, which is a good thing. That strap requires almost no effort to find - sweep your hand in any kind of glove and you are likely to find it. Or put in a really wide one, your knees probably would be able to do the necessary stretching.

Occcasional desperation while
inverted has wonderfully improved my ability to find the grab loop, gloved or not. Might have to do with increased blood to the brain.

What strap?
I have a SD Glacier Trek and don’t know what strap you are talking about?

A strap crossing diagonally over the
front surface of the skirt. When you grab and pull, it pulls up the sides of the skirt. Anyway, that’s what I >think< they’re talking about.

Yup - that’s it

– Last Updated: May-09-07 12:50 PM EST –

It just comes left to right across the skirt at about your knees, get any kind of hand under it and it'll pull up the edges. There may be instances where it wouldn't work, but probably would most of the time. Older Glacier skirts didn't have it as an option, it became easier to get in the last couple of years.

I doubt it'd work as an actual knee-off, as in pushing up with knees, at its present width. Maybe, but if you really wanted that I think it'd require a slightly wider strap. This one is like an inch wide.

It doesn't get in the way at all, may have some incidental use as a lousy paddle park in some cases, and make pulling the skirt a lot easier in a pinch. It strikes me as similar to a shoulder rest on a violin - old school folks probably won't see a need for it because darn it they learned without anything like that and developed alternatives. But newer paddlers my appreciate having an aditional alternative to the loop or grab material and pull.

I have seen a few manufacturers do related things, in addition to IR. Kokatat skirts have long continued the grab loop strap under the front edge of the bungie or rand, so that the skirt would lift off without the paddler having to remember to pull forward first.

Loops on certain Seals skirts

I believe the “loops” on the Seals skirt is for mounting a chart case. At least that is what I am using them for. They would be very awkward to grap by hand, particular if you are wearing gloves.

Here’s a picture

Snapdragon was pretty good about it…
The last time I ordered a skirt from them, I requested they include the strap and they included for no charge. I think that’s their standard practice and all you have to do is order the skirt from your dealer with the strap. No big deal.

Regarding whether it’s a knee strap or not, the Snapdragon strap is too loose and even if it’s tightened, I doubt it would work well since the Snapdragon sea kayak skirts are pretty flexible. In my whitewater skirt, it has an implosion bar as well as a strap so I’m pretty sure I could knee it out if I had to. I did have an old Riot skirt that actually had a functional knee strap and no grab loop. It was a very tight skirt and hte strap was tensioned in a way that lifting your knee would pop the skirt off.

Like mine…

– Last Updated: May-09-07 11:01 AM EST –

Great for holding a water bottle or chart case.
Really didn't know what it was for when I first got it..

IR skirts
IR skirts are fantastic. IMHO

(prior post edited after more info)

I agree that the loops are too small to be useful for an adult with larger hands and thick gloves, though they are a useful size for the young person whose in that Seals skirt I saw. One person there thought they were supposed to be available to hook just a finger thru in a pinch, like maybe a thumb? They’d be on the borderline for me. One reason we were thinking that way is that the loops went fairly far back on this skirt, like to by his hips. But maybe I am remembering that wrong.

Works on mine

– Last Updated: May-10-07 7:58 AM EST –

Granted we are talking plastic boats, a used Piedra and Innazone 220 (on which the skirt is a good bit tighter). So the skirts may release more easily than on a glass boat. But I checked it out on both of the WW boats, that strap works fine to release. That's after I sent it back to Snapdragon for them to put in a heavier bungie too.

And I forgot - the styrap can be tightened, at least on mine. I have to change it a bit between the two WW boats.

Done !!

– Last Updated: May-09-07 7:43 PM EST –

Called Rutabaga. They're good. They have one in stock with the "knee" strap. It's on the way. Sweet!!

Thanks for all the info, including that it's an available option, though not widely advertized.

Paul S.

Appreciate the comment, Suz
I’ve done that now and then, just to try it. Works well on the trek skirts as it’s a rough textured surface that’s easy to palm. I wasn’t sure how it would work with gloves, as Celia alluded. My Glacier gloves are pretty tactile though with good grip and might work fine. I think I’ll try it 10 or 20 times to build confidence.

I still ordered the strap, as mentioned below. I need a new skirt now as I’m sick of water leaking through the tunnel, am only losing more weight, and have a big trip in a couple weeks. I’m still on a loaner DS without an overskirt, until my GMER comes in, or that would solve the problem, too.

If I don’t like the strap, I can always cut it off.

Paul S.